Californians Believe Racial Harmony Is Real

California is close to 40 percent white. The rest, you could say, is minority—even if minorities together comprise a majority.

The latest USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll asked Golden State voters to reveal their attitudes on race and ethnicity, and the results are pretty upbeat.

Nearly three-quarters of respondents said race relations in their neighborhoods were good or excellent. (California maintains some of the least-segregated cities in the nation).

Sixty-three percent of voters surveyed said relationships between people of different racial or ethnic backgrounds were good in their cities, USC says.

Only about one in four (27) percent of the respondents believe that the same applied to the United States as a whole.

Dan Schnur, director of the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll and executive director of the Unruh Institute of Politics of USC, said:

California is the most demographically diverse community in the history of the planet earth. So it makes sense that as we get to know people of other racial and ethnic backgrounds, Californians develop personal relationships that can transcend those differences. But when we hear about a racially charged incident on the news from another part of the country, it's easy to come to a much different conclusion without that first-hand perspective.

Indeed, 65 percent of Californians, if the poll's results can be extrapolated, believe race relations are better here than in the rest of America, the university stated:

Sixty-five percent of white voters, 61 percent of Latin American [Latino] voters, 60 percent of African American voters and 79 percent of Asian American voters all said that race relations were better in California than in other parts of the country.

But only slightly more than half (53) percent of respondents said race relations in California overall were fair or poor, the survey found. "Voters were more optimistic about race relations in their immediate lives and less optimistic about race relations externally," the school explained in a statement.

Matt Rodriguez, a distinguished Unruh Institute fellow and Democratic strategist, put it this way:

California voters see race relations here in the state, and especially in their own neighborhoods, in a much more positive light than they see the rest of the country.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow L.A. Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.


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